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Teaching materials on Pride history now available in Sask. despite school regulations

Education materials on the history of Pride aimed a students are being made available in Saskatchewan despite the province’s regulations around sexual health education.

The materials are being made available by the Canadian Pride Historical Society for grades K-12. Subjects includes identifying the meaning of the term Pride and events in Pride history, such as the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada in 1969, the first transgender march in Canada in 2009, and more recent events involving drag.

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Residents can access these materials at the Canadian Pride Historical Society (CPHS) website .

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Jonathan Niemczak, chair and president of CPHS, said the historical society deems these materials appropriate for schools but did note they don’t skirt under Saskatchewan’s current regulations.

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“Part of our organization’s purpose is to collect this research and put it into educational material so that people can learn about the history of the Pride movement in Canada… It’s often unknown and it’s an important part of Canada’s social fabric,” Niemczak said.

Saskatchewan banned third-party organizations from offering sexual health education in schools following a 2023 incident in which a child got their hands on a Planned Parenthood pamphlet that wasn’t intended for school use.

Niemczak said that the historical society’s material is geared towards learning about the Pride movement, adding that if people don’t learn about the topic it could lead to ignorance and hate.

On its website, the CPHS says its goal with the educational materials is to teach people of all ages about the legacy and continued impact of the Pride movement in Canada. It also says the material is important for students, citing a 2011 Egale Canada report that found 70 per cent of students reported hearing homophobic language in schools and 74 per cent of trans students said they had been verbally harassed in school.

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The website adds misinformation and misunderstanding still exists and that teaching the history of the Pride movement can help learners identify that misinformation and think more inclusively.

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Niemczak said the historical society hopes to engage with the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation on the lesson plans, but said they haven’t spoken with the Ministry of Education.

“We don’t typically engage with the government when it comes to our educational resources.”

He said that the society looks at provincial curriculum standards for courses such as social studies to see how its educational materials might fit into the classroom.

Niemczak said this material sometimes doesn’t fit within a specific curriculum, so it is designed to be short so that it can presented on a special day for Pride month.

He hopes it can still find its way into educational settings, even if it can’t be used in the classroom.

Global News reached out to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the Ministry of Education for comment.

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